Diamondback Terrapin Sighting Report
Please help the Brevard zoo

Spring and summer are roasting the IRL river again, & you may see diamondback terrapin hatchlings along the Indian River Lagoon.

You can help the zoo conservation team monitor and track this unique species and its success in the wild by becoming a citizen scientist.

All you have to do is report sightings of any diamondback terrapin you see using the Brevard Zoo reporting form.

Kayak Season has returned to the Lagoon.

Wait, did it ever depart?

Photo Credit: Brevard Zoo

I have reported seeing three diamondback terrapins so far.

One was stuck on the crawlerway at Kennedy Space Center (I rescued and released to Banana Creek)

Saw another terrapin while Kayaking Turkey Creek

And then one in the shallows of the Banana River NO Motor Zone while I was wade fishing.

I did not report the ones in the head waters of the Indian River Turnbull Creek (did not know about the zoo webpage)

Photo Credit: Christopher Boykin (zoo Photo)

I may be little odd.....however I was so excited a few years back when seeing my first diamondback terrapin--I did not even know they existed....and there was a spotted, white-ish turtle (well terrapin) in the brackish water of the Banana River. Looked like it was half snapping turtle-half??.

Could not wait to tell someone-however no one that I knew was interested in "another water turtle"

I was pretty excited to see the one in Turkey Creek-several miles upstream in the fresh water. (I do not know how far upstream they will travel into freshwater)

Form to fill out when sighting a terrapin

Brevard Zoo page on diamondback terrapins

The Zoo also sent me information about terrapins

And the other turtles or tortoises of Kennedy Space Center?

finned resident of Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center the surrounding Indian River Lagoon, Mosquito Lagoon and Banana River/Banana Creek is home to a wide assortment of "shell toting" reptiles.

Eastern Box & mud turtles inhabit the wet lands, the Gopher Tortoise inhabits the dry areas.

Various types of fresh water turtles are abundant as is the lagoon estuary which is home to juvenile sea turtles.

Gopher Tortoise feasting on weeds.

Baby Gopher Tortoise of KSC 

Gopher Tortoise burrow and an exposed Ais Indian artifact.

The Ais, Native Americans of Kennedy Space Center

Just another KSC turtle story. (not a terrapin or tortoise story)

A couple of years ago near Dummit Cove on North Merritt Island I was driving north to the Radar site on State Road 3, when I happened upon a stunned alligator snapping turtle lying in the road. It had been hit by a vehicle but not killed.

Since I have always been fans of turtles, I stopped to help the rather large (but not giant) snapping turtle. I would hazard a guess the snapper was the size of a car steering wheel.

With both hands I cautiously grabbed the non responsive turtle by the back of the shell "out of" reach of turtle jaws--- I hoped and "attempted" the word being attempted to carry the dazed turtle to the fresh water ditch along the road.

The turtle unexpectedly became 'un-stunned' and rather snake like, the dino-turtle twisted its head and neck swinging back, snapping and just missing my fingers.

And as always- I was shocked at the speed of the head.

Before I could release the turtle in panic, both back claws feet dug into my hands drawing blood.

I dropped the dino turtle and may have said a few cuss words, but I was very worried about those dirty talons that had just tore my wrists.  -I tried to clean the cuts as best as I could, seeing how I was in a remote area with no topical medicine.

Small lesson learned, don't pick up the snappers.

FYI, I told the KSC biologist about my snapping turtle adventure and the comment was "The snapping turtle must have been a male"

I found his comment funny, but realized with all the snapping turtles I had caught for fun, that had been the first to ever claw me.

Snapping turtle with my DNA in its claws

In closing, a friend of mine was fishing on a Ais shell mound in the Indian River and found this?  Turtle shell?

Not sure what it is other than an Ais Indian "multi-tool"

To be honest I do not know what this thing is, however I believe it is part of a sea turtle shell.

I am guessing a Native American used this spikey tool for picking snails and conchs from their roasted shells.


And the good news of Kennedy Space Center & CCAFS, Canaveral National Seashore beaches:

Sea Turtle nests on the rise!

Meanwhile on the Crawlerway. A rescue

Mobile Launch tower slow journey on the crawlerway to Pad 39B

I rescued this soft-shell turtle from a dehydration or heat related death on the crawlerway rocks. (fairly certain the turtle could outrun the crawler but not the sun)

No shortage of these snappers and I learned my lesson as a kid, the soft shell snappers can reach your hands if you pick them up.

I do find it interesting (Yes I am a nerd) that the brackish water terrapin and the fresh snapping turtle had to be rescued from the same location on the crawlerway.

Some unexpected blending of fresh water and salt water animals on the space center.

Return Home from Diamondback Terrapin Sighting Report page

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